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The Dodo 

The Dodo was first sighted around 1600 in Mauritius island. It was extinct less than eighty years later.

Some of the birds may have been eaten by the Dutch sailors who discovered them. However, the primary causes of their extinction were the destruction of the forest (which cut off the Dodo's food supply), and the animals that the sailors brought with them, including cats, rats, and pigs, which destroyed Dodo nests.

The Dodo's stubby wings and heavy, ungainly body imply that the bird was flightless. Moreover, its breastbone was too small to support the huge pectoral muscles a bird this size would need to fly. Yet scientists believe that the Dodo evolved from a bird capable of flight into a flightless one. When an ancestor of the Dodo landed in Mauritius, it found a habitat with plenty of food and no predators. It therefore did not need to fly, and, as flying takes a great deal of energy, it was more efficient for the bird to remain on the ground. Eventually, the flightless Dodo evolved.


mauritius.cjb.net, 2000 - 2001.